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Ex-Sergeant Held in Probe of Link to Saudi Extremist

October 31, 1998| From Associated Press

NEW YORK — A former Army sergeant was secretly arrested last month and is being investigated on charges that he trained Islamic militants linked to alleged terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden, a law enforcement source said Friday.

Egyptian native Ali Mohamed, 46, who arrived in the United States in 1985 and spent three years in the military, was taken into custody on charges that have yet to be made public. Mohamed allegedly trained the militants well before the attacks in August on U.S. embassies in East Africa that have been linked to Bin Laden.

Prosecutors allege that he lent his expertise to terrorists bent on attacking the United States for its support of Israel and presence in the Middle East.

A sealed complaint was filed in U.S. District Court against Mohamed on Sept. 11, the same day he was arrested and jailed, according to a law enforcement source who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The source declined to reveal the specific nature of the charges. The arrest stems from an investigation that was accelerated after the U.S. Embassy bombings in Tanzania and Kenya.

Investigators are probing Mohamed's links to Bin Laden, a Saudi multimillionaire suspected of orchestrating the embassy bombings and attacks against U.S. soldiers in Somalia, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

Mohamed gave a group of young men who wanted to help Afghan rebels tapes and books on military techniques and weapons, according to court records.

Some of the materials were recovered from the apartment of El Sayyid A. Nosair, the Egyptian immigrant convicted of conspiracy in the killing of Jewish Defense League founder Rabbi Meir Kahane in 1990, court records show.

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